Multivitamins – The Right Vitamins and Minerals for a Multivitamin?

Posted by Casper du Toit on

Most healthcare experts would agree that having the right combination of vitamins and minerals is essential for a good multivitamin supplement. But, what is the right combination?

The problem is that there is no real definition or standard of what exactly constitutes a multivitamin as the vitamin, mineral and nutrient composition differs from brand to brand. They are also available in many forms such as tablets, chewable gummies and liquids.

Open bottle of multivitamins

Fortunately, we can get some guidance from the Office of Dietary Supplements and MedlinePlus, both part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“The Office of Dietary Supplements, a part of the National Institutes of Health, works to strengthen knowledge and understanding of dietary supplements by evaluating scientific information, stimulating and supporting research, disseminating research results, and educating the public about the efficacy and safety of dietary supplements in order to foster an enhanced quality of life and health for the U.S. population.”

- The Office of Dietary Supplements, a part of the National Institutes of Health.

What we are going to do is the following:

* List the 19 vitamins and minerals we at LUNVA believe should be included in any good multivitamin supplement.

* Mention what the Office of Dietary Supplements or MedlinePlus has to say about each vitamin and mineral listed.  

* Provide a list of foods that contain the required vitamin, mineral or nutrient.

Dietary supplements lying on a plate

We firmly believe that vitamins and dietary supplements are not meant to be an alternative option to a healthy diet. They are purely there to supplement a diet that is lacking the required minerals, vitamins and nutrients.

healthy vitamin and mineral rich food

At LUNVA we believe that a good multivitamin should at the very least contain the following vitamins and minerals: 

Vitamin A

Bottle of Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in many foods. Vitamin A is important for normal vision, the immune system, and reproduction. Vitamin A also helps the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs work properly.

There are two different types of vitamin A. The first type, preformed vitamin A, is found in meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products. The second type, provitamin A, is found in fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based products. The most common type of provitamin A in foods and dietary supplements is beta-carotene.

- The Office of Dietary Supplements, a part of the National Institutes of Health.

Vitamin C

Bottle of Vitamin C

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble nutrient found in some foods. In the body, it acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals.

Free radicals are compounds formed when our bodies convert the food we eat into energy. People are also exposed to free radicals in the environment from cigarette smoke, air pollution, and ultraviolet light from the sun.

The body also needs vitamin C to make collagen, a protein required to help wounds heal. In addition, vitamin C improves the absorption of iron from plant-based foods and helps the immune system work properly to protect the body from disease.

Most multivitamins have vitamin C. Vitamin C is also available alone as a dietary supplement or in combination with other nutrients.

The vitamin C in dietary supplements is usually in the form of ascorbic acid, but some supplements have other forms, such as sodium ascorbate, calcium ascorbate, other mineral ascorbates, and ascorbic acid with bioflavonoids. Research has not shown that any form of vitamin C is better than the other forms.

Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of vitamin C. You can get recommended amounts of vitamin C by eating a variety of foods including the following:

Citrus fruits (such as oranges and grapefruit) and their juices, as well as red and green pepper and kiwifruit, which have a lot of vitamin C.

Other fruits and vegetables - such as broccoli, strawberries, cantaloupe, baked potatoes, and tomatoes - which also have vitamin C.

Vitamin rich broccoli

Some foods and beverages that are fortified with vitamin C. To find out if vitamin C has been added to a food product, check the product labels.

The vitamin C content of food may be reduced by prolonged storage and by cooking. Steaming or microwaving may lessen cooking losses. Fortunately, many of the best food sources of vitamin C, such as fruits and vegetables, are usually eaten raw.

- The Office of Dietary Supplements, a part of the National Institutes of Health.

Vitamin D

Bottle of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a nutrient found in some foods that is needed for health and to maintain strong bones. It does so by helping the body absorb calcium (one of bone’s main building blocks) from food and supplements.

People who get too little vitamin D may develop soft, thin, and brittle bones, a condition known as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.

Vitamin D is important to the body in many other ways as well. Muscles need it to move, for example, nerves need it to carry messages between the brain and every body part, and the immune system needs vitamin D to fight off invading bacteria and viruses. Together with calcium, vitamin D also helps protect older adults from osteoporosis. Vitamin D is found in cells throughout the body.

Very few foods naturally have vitamin D. Fortified foods provide most of the vitamin D in American diets.

Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel are among the best sources.

Beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks provide small amounts.

Mushrooms provide some vitamin D. In some mushrooms that are newly available in stores, the vitamin D content is being boosted by exposing these mushrooms to ultraviolet light.

Almost all of the U.S. milk supply is fortified with 400 IU of vitamin D per quart. But foods made from milk, like cheese and ice cream, are usually not fortified.

Vitamin D is added to many breakfast cereals and to some brands of orange juice, yogurt, margarine, and soy beverages; check the labels.

- The Office of Dietary Supplements, a part of the National Institutes of Health.

Vitamin E

Bottle of Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient found in many foods. In the body, it acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals.

Free radicals are compounds formed when our bodies convert the food we eat into energy. People are also exposed to free radicals in the environment from cigarette smoke, air pollution, and ultraviolet light from the sun.

The body also needs vitamin E to boost its immune system so that it can fight off invading bacteria and viruses. It helps to widen blood vessels and keep blood from clotting within them. In addition, cells use vitamin E to interact with each other and to carry out many important functions.

Vitamin E is found naturally in foods and is added to some fortified foods. You can get recommended amounts of vitamin E by eating a variety of foods including the following:

Vegetable oils like wheat germ, sunflower, and safflower oils are among the best sources of vitamin E. Corn and soybean oils also provide some vitamin E.

Beans in a plate

Nuts (such as peanuts, hazelnuts, and, especially, almonds) and seeds (like sunflower seeds) are also among the best sources of vitamin E.

Green vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli, provide some vitamin E.

Food companies add vitamin E to some breakfast cereals, fruit juices, margarines and spreads, and other foods. To find out which ones have vitamin E, check the product labels.

- The Office of Dietary Supplements, a part of the National Institutes of Health.

Vitamin B1

Bottle of Vitamin B1

Thiamin (also called vitamin B1) helps turn the food you eat into the energy you need. Thiamin is important for the growth, development, and function of the cells in your body.

Thiamin is found naturally in many foods and is added to some fortified foods. You can get recommended amounts of thiamin by eating a variety of foods, including the following:

Whole grains and fortified bread, cereal, pasta, rice, meat (especially pork), fish, legumes (such as black beans and soybeans), seeds, and nuts.

- The Office of Dietary Supplements, a part of the National Institutes of Health.

Vitamin B2

Bottle of Vitamin B2

Riboflavin (also called vitamin B2) is important for the growth, development, and function of the cells in your body. It also helps turn the food you eat into the energy you need.

Riboflavin is found naturally in some foods and is added to many fortified foods. You can get recommended amounts of riboflavin by eating a variety of foods, including the following:

Eggs, organ meats (such as kidneys and liver), lean meats, low-fat milk, green vegetables (such as asparagus, broccoli, and spinach), fortified cereals, bread, and grain products.

- The Office of Dietary Supplements, a part of the National Institutes of Health.

Vitamin B3

Bottle of Vitamin B3

Niacin (also known as vitamin B3) is one of the water-soluble B vitamins which means it is not stored in the body. That means you need a regular supply of such vitamins in your diet.

Niacin helps the digestive system, skin, and nerves to function. It is also important for converting food to energy.

- MedlinePlus, a part of the National Institutes of Health.

Niacin is present in a wide variety of foods. Many animal-based foods - including poultry, beef, and fish - provide about 5-10 mg niacin per serving.

Plant-based foods, such as nuts, legumes, and grains, provide about 2-5 mg niacin per serving, mainly as nicotinic acid. Many breads, cereals, and infant formulas in the United States and many other countries contain added niacin.

- The Office of Dietary Supplements, a part of the National Institutes of Health.

Vitamin B6

Bottle of Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is a vitamin that is naturally present in many foods. The body needs vitamin B6 for more than 100 enzyme reactions involved in metabolism. Vitamin B6 is also involved in brain development during pregnancy and infancy as well as immune function.

Vitamin B6 is found naturally in many foods and is added to other foods. You can get recommended amounts of vitamin B6 by eating a variety of foods, including the following:

Poultry, fish, organ meats, potatoes and other starchy vegetables, and fruit (other than citrus).

Cooked patatoes on a plate

- The Office of Dietary Supplements, a part of the National Institutes of Health.

Folic Acid

Bottle of Folic Acid

Folate is a B-vitamin that is naturally present in many foods. Your body needs folate to make DNA and other genetic material. Your body also needs folate for your cells to divide. A form of folate, called folic acid, is used in fortified foods and most dietary supplements.

Folate is naturally present in many foods, and folic acid is added to some foods. You can get recommended amounts by eating a variety of foods, including the following.

Folate is naturally present in:

Beef liver, vegetables (especially asparagus, brussels sprouts, and dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach and mustard greens), fruits and fruit juices (especially oranges and orange juice), nuts, beans, and peas (such as peanuts, black-eyed peas, and kidney beans).

Beans in glass jar

Folic acid is added to the following foods:

Enriched bread, flour, cornmeal, pasta, rice, fortified breakfast cereals, and fortified corn masa flour (used to make corn tortillas and tamales, for example).

To find out whether a food has added folic acid, look for “folic acid” on its Nutrition Facts label.

- The Office of Dietary Supplements, a part of the National Institutes of Health.

Vitamin B12

Bottle of Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. Vitamin B12 also helps prevent a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia that makes people tired and weak.

Two steps are required for the body to absorb vitamin B12 from food.

First, hydrochloric acid in the stomach separates vitamin B12 from the protein to which vitamin B12 is attached in food. After this, vitamin B12 combines with a protein made by the stomach called intrinsic factor and is absorbed by the body.

Vitamin B12 is found naturally in a wide variety of animal foods and is added to some fortified foods. Plant foods have no vitamin B12 unless they are fortified. You can get recommended amounts of vitamin B12 by eating a variety of foods including the following:

Beef liver and clams (which are the best sources of vitamin B12), fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and other dairy products.

Some breakfast cereals, nutritional yeasts and other food products are fortified with vitamin B12. To find out if vitamin B12 has been added to a food product, check the product labels.

- The Office of Dietary Supplements, a part of the National Institutes of Health.

Biotin

Bottle of Biotin

Biotin is a B-vitamin found in many foods. Biotin helps turn the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in the food you eat into the energy you need.

Many foods contain some biotin. You can get recommended amounts of biotin by eating a variety of foods, including the following:

Meat, fish, eggs, organ meats (such as liver), seeds and nuts, certain vegetables (such as sweet potatoes, spinach, and broccoli).

- The Office of Dietary Supplements, a part of the National Institutes of Health.

Vitamin B5

Bottle of Vitamin B5

Pantothenic acid (also called vitamin B5) helps turn the food you eat into the energy you need. It’s important for many functions in the body, especially making and breaking down fats.

Pantothenic acid is naturally present in almost all foods. It is also added to some foods, including some breakfast cereals and beverages (such as energy drinks). You can get recommended amounts of pantothenic acid by eating a variety of foods, including the following:

Beef, poultry, seafood, organ meats, eggs, milk, vegetables such as mushrooms (especially shiitakes), avocados, potatoes, broccoli, whole grains such as whole wheat, brown rice, oats, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and chickpeas.

- The Office of Dietary Supplements, a part of the National Institutes of Health.

Calcium

Bottle of Calcium

Calcium is a mineral found in many foods. The body needs calcium to maintain strong bones and to carry out many important functions. Almost all calcium is stored in bones and teeth, where it supports their structure and hardness.

The body also needs calcium for muscles to move and for nerves to carry messages between the brain and every body part. In addition, calcium is used to help blood vessels move blood throughout the body and to help release hormones and enzymes that affect almost every function in the human body.

Calcium is found in many foods. You can get recommended amounts of calcium by eating a variety of foods, including the following:

Milk, yogurt, and cheese are the main food sources of calcium for the majority of people in the United States.

Kale, broccoli, and Chinese cabbage are fine vegetable sources of calcium.

Fish with soft bones that you eat, such as canned sardines and salmon, are fine animal sources of calcium.

Most grains (such as breads, pastas, and unfortified cereals), while not rich in calcium, add significant amounts of calcium to the diet because people eat them often or in large amounts.

Calcium is added to some breakfast cereals, fruit juices, soy and rice beverages, and tofu. To find out whether these foods have calcium, check the product labels.

- The Office of Dietary Supplements, a part of the National Institutes of Health.

Magnesium

Bottle of Magnesium

Magnesium is a nutrient that the body needs to stay healthy. Magnesium is important for many processes in the body, including regulating muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure and making protein, bone, and DNA.

Magnesium is found naturally in many foods and is added to some fortified foods. You can get recommended amounts of magnesium by eating a variety of foods, including the following:

Legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, green leafy vegetables (such as spinach), fortified breakfast cereals and other fortified foods, milk, yogurt, and some other milk products.

- The Office of Dietary Supplements, a part of the National Institutes of Health.

Zinc

Bottle of Zinc

Zinc is a nutrient that people need to stay healthy. Zinc is found in cells throughout the body. It helps the immune system fight off invading bacteria and viruses. The body also needs zinc to make proteins and DNA, the genetic material in all cells.

During pregnancy, infancy, and childhood, the body needs zinc to grow and develop properly. Zinc also helps wounds heal and is important for proper senses of taste and smell.

Zinc is found in a wide variety of foods. You can get recommended amounts of zinc by eating a variety of foods including the following:

Oysters (the best source of zinc), red meat, poultry, seafood such as crab and lobsters, and fortified breakfast cereals, which are also good sources of zinc.

Beans, nuts, whole grains, and dairy products, which provide some zinc.

- The Office of Dietary Supplements, a part of the National Institutes of Health.

Selenium

Bottle of Selenium

Selenium is a nutrient that the body needs to stay healthy. Selenium is important for reproduction, thyroid gland function, DNA production, and protecting the body from damage caused by free radicals and from infection.

Selenium is found naturally in many foods.

The amount of selenium in plant foods depends on the amount of selenium in the soil where they were grown.

The amount of selenium in animal products depends on the selenium content of the foods that the animals ate. You can get recommended amounts of selenium by eating a variety of foods, including the following:

Seafood, meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products, breads, cereals, and other grain products.

Salad with eggs and tomatoes

- The Office of Dietary Supplements, a part of the National Institutes of Health.

Copper

Bottle of Copper dietary supplement

Copper is an essential trace mineral present in all body tissues.

Copper works with iron to help the body form red blood cells. It also helps keep the blood vessels, nerves, immune system, and bones healthy. Copper also aids in iron absorption.

- MedlinePlus, a part of the National Institutes of Health.

Foods containing copper include shellfish, liver, nuts, seeds, whole-grain products, beans and prunes.

Manganese

Dietary supplement bottle of Manganese

Manganese is an essential nutrient involved in many chemical processes in the body, including processing of cholesterol, carbohydrates, and protein. It might also be involved in bone formation.

It is also used for weak bones (osteoporosis), painful joints (osteoarthritis), a type of “tired blood” (anemia), weight loss, and symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

Manganese is a mineral that is found in several foods including nuts, legumes, seeds, tea, whole grains, and leafy green vegetables. It is considered an essential nutrient, because the body requires it to function properly.

Healthy buffet with olives, cheese and greens

- MedlinePlus, a part of the National Institutes of Health.

Chromium

Dietary supplement bottle of Chromium

Chromium is an essential mineral that is not made by the body. It must be obtained from the diet.

Chromium is important in the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates. It stimulates fatty acid and cholesterol synthesis, which are important for brain function and other body processes. Chromium also aids in insulin action and glucose metabolism.

- MedlinePlus, a part of the National Institutes of Health.

Foods containing chromium include meat, poultry, fish, eggs, potatoes, nuts and cheese.

In addition, as men and women’s bodies and dietary requirements are not 100% identical a good multivitamin brand should have a multivitamin for men and a multivitamin for women that should include some additional ingredients for men and women respectively.

Not all vitamin & dietary supplement brands are the same or equal.

vitamins and minerals

Warning: Be very cautious when considering buying low cost imported brands or even brands that are made in the USA by someone mixing and bottling the ingredients in his or her kitchen or garage.

According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, part of the National Institutes of Health:

“The FDA has established good manufacturing practices (GMPs) for dietary supplements to help ensure their identity, purity, strength and composition. These GMPs are designed to prevent the inclusion of the wrong ingredient, the addition of too much or too little of an ingredient, the possibility of contamination, and the improper packaging and labeling of a product. The FDA periodically inspects facilities that manufacture dietary supplements.”

USA in the form of a flag

Make sure that the vitamins and dietary supplements you buy are:

  • Made in the USA to the highest quality standards in a FDA registered facility that also maintains a current GMP certificate.
  • Made with Non-GMO ingredients which means that none of the ingredients have been genetically modified.

At LUNVA we comply with the above requirements. And, in addition, our supplements are:

  • Gluten free and made from natural ingredients.

LUNVA Natural Vitamins and Dietary Supplements

For more information on LUNVA’s multivitamin for men and multivitamin for women please feel free to click on either of the following two links:

>>> Multivitamin for Men

>>> Multivitamin for Women

Selecting a multivitamin containing the right vitamins and minerals can help to support your health. Not all multivitamins are equal or the same so make sure that the one you choose contains at least the 19 vitamins and minerals mentioned in this article.

To your health!

Casper du Toit
CEO of LUNVA

Disclaimer: The article “Multivitamins - The Right Vitamins and Minerals for a Multivitamin” is meant for general information purposes only and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please consult with your healthcare professional or physician should you require any medical advice or if you are suffering from any medical condition.


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